- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2003

The New York Giants yesterday abandoned their bid to play host to the 2008 Super Bowl, reducing the field to Washington, Tampa, Fla., and Phoenix.

The Giants, along with Washington, sought to have the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl. But a handshake agreement between the team and the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority to rework the team’s lease at Giants Stadium and conduct a $290million renovation for a potential Super Bowl is not yet ratified. The lack of ratification clouded the potential start of the two-year construction.

The team now will seek the 2009 Super Bowl.

“We believe the renovation plans we have for Giants Stadium will make it more than Super Bowl-ready by 2009,” said John Mara, Giants executive vice president.

Phoenix was and remains the favorite to land the 2008 game given its successful Super Bowl XXX in 1995, its long pursuit of the game and a state of the art stadium set to open in 2006. Many NFL owners also favor the tradition of playing Super Bowls in warm climates or in a domed facility.

But the Giants’ bid, advanced initially by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue along with Washington, also had been seen as strong contender given the long legacy and league-wide respect held by Giants co-owner Wellington Mara.

NFL vice president Joe Browne said the Giants’ withdrawal was strictly a team decision and that the vote to award the 2008 game remains set for Oct.30 in Chicago.

Redskins officials declined to comment.

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